5th Columnists from Bethlehem, holding onto the Christmas message

– tonight we will turn all the lights on, one more time

the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.ā€

Jesus, quoting Isaiah (Matthew 4:16)

It is time, finally, for us to shift our focus from the immediacy of the season of Christmas, and to put the decorations (well, most of them) back into their boxes before stowing it all in the attic.

There are a few things I plan to hold on to: A couple of Christmas mugs; the wise guys (who will likely continue to wander around the house); possibly an angel, or two; and maybe a small nativity.

Then there is always the resourceful character (or decoration) who dodges behind some books or some home accent and manages to avoid capture for a few days, or a week, or more, and who eventually sneaks out into full view as if bringing a message from on high. “Don’t forget the promise of Christmas! There is light in this world yet! Carry the story with you, always!”

– There goes a shepherd, looking to hide!

Like the lone angel – a kind of divine 5th Columnist – we found hanging from the chandelier over the dining room table one year. “Glory to God! Peace on Earth!! Goodwill to all people!!!”

And this time, maybe, we listen.

Because we are, in a sense, working on behalf of another kingdom. We are in a very concrete way seeking to advance a message that is at odds with the expressed values of our own culture.

If we really are followers of Jesus, then why do we act is if we belonged – outright – to this world, invested in the currency of transactions that have no eternal worth?

“Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules” (Colossians 2:20)?

– Derek Maul writes from his home in Wake Forest, NC

I will be keeping my eyes open over the next few weeks, interested to see what kind of messenger God is leaving behind, and what is it that I am required to learn.

Tomorrow is Epiphany, one more stop for the magi on their way home. Don’t loose sight of them! – DEREK


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